Ranking the Running Games, Pt. 13: Seattle Seahawks
Part 13 of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise.
The Seattle Seahawks maintained their dominant status in the NFC West in 2007, winning its fourth straight division title while earning its fifth straight playoff berth with a 10-6 record. The teams’ off-season additions, particularly via free agency, were responsible for accomplishing those feats. The additions of ex-Falcon DE Patrick Kerney significantly bolstered the team’s pass rush with an NFC-best 14 ½ sacks, and new safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell were major upgrades who helped tighten up a secondary that gave far too many big plays down field in 2006.
The Seahawks traded their 1st round pick to New England in exchange for WR Deion Branch and didn’t receive nearly as much help from the draft in 2007 as they did from the free agent market, but DT Brandon Mebane proved to be a 3rd round steal. He picked up the slack created by season-ending injuries to DT’s Marcus Tubbs & Chuck Darby. Put simply he was a revelation whose future looks bright.
Offensively the running game was greatly de-emphasized eight games into the ’07 campaign in favor of a high octane passing attack; it remains an important component in the grand scheme of things.
The Left Guard position has been a sore spot since the team let All-Pro LG Steve Hutchinson go in free agency. Matt Hasselbeck had his best season, setting career highs in passing attempts, completions and yardage. He was able to shake off a string of injuries to play in all 16 games.
Shaun Alexander, who will be 31 next season, is coming off two injury-plagued campaigns after his MVP performance of 2005 and will be replaced. This off-season that has already taken place as the Seahawks has signed Julius Jones & T.J. Duckett making Alexander expendable. Leonard Weaver took over at FB after longtime starter Mack Strong suffered a career-ending injury. The Seahawks rushed for 101.2 yards as a team.
Shaun Alexander 5’ 11” 225 lbs. 207 Att. 716 Yards 3.5 YPC Avg. 4 TD’s
( Post-Season 24 Att. 66 Yards 1 TD)
Maurice Morris 5’ 11” 202 lbs. 140 Att. 628 Yards 4.5 YPC Avg. 4 TD’s
Marquis Weeks 5’ 10” 206 lbs.
It appears that the committee of Julius Jones, Maurice Morris & TJ Duckett will carry the running game for the Seahawks in 2008 with Shaun Alexander gone. I feel the Seahawks need to draft a running back and the team wants to add Oregon’s Jonathan Stewart (who is from Seattle), but might have to settle for Rashard Mendenhall if Stewart is off the board, as expected, by the 25th selection.
The Seahawks also have a huge need at WR. A West Coast offense can never have enough wide-out options such as Vanderbilt’s Earl Bennett or California’s Lavelle Hawkins. Seahawks President Tim Ruskell is a proponent of the build-through-the-draft philosophy he has rebuilt the defense since arriving in 2005. He has used six of the teams’ eight first-day picks to select linebackers Lofa Tatupu & Leroy Hill, cornerbacks Kelly Jennings and Josh Wilson and lineman Darryl Tapp and Brandon Mebane. The Seahawks needs are OT, OG, RB, TE, DT, WR.
The question for the Seahawks: Can President Tim Ruskell continue to show that he is adept at re-stocking an offense to sustain success?
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